Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

OCD Awareness Week, Day 2

Today, my mom, Nicky, and I went to the Massachusetts State House for an OCD Awareness luncheon.

You know, if a person doesn't know what is wrong with them, it's awfully hard to get proper treatment. That's why awareness is so important. It was exciting to hear that the IOCDF is working with the Massachusetts State Legislature to increase awareness of OCD and access to treatment. And this is how the barriers to recovery get removed. One little piece at a time.

1) My Mom and I, 2) The MA State House,
3) Jeff Szymanski, PhD, Executive Director, IOCDF,
& 4) my new OCD MA awareness t-shirt

Monday, October 13, 2014

OCD Awareness Week, Day 1

Hey everyone! It's OCD Awareness Week and I'm going to post just a little tidbit every day this week in honor of this auspicious occasion. #OCDweek

Taken from today's The Telegraph:

"OCD is the poor cousin of mental health in that people tend to joke about it and trivialize the suffering of those living with it, says Ashley Fulwood, Chief Executive of OCD-UK. "But it is a serious illness and it can lead to tragic consequences."


Monday, October 6, 2014

Want To Get Better From OCD?

My bloggy friends have been on a roll lately! I read Jackie Lea Sommers' post today and it is full of truth. Hard truth. But truth that will set us free. So I just have to share.

Want to get better from OCD? I do (most of the time!). Jackie removes a few of the excuses that can keep us mired in the mud. Yes it will hurt. Like h-e-double-hockey-sticks, want to rip every last hair out of your head, why is this happening to me, kind of hurt. Nope, it's definitely not a get better quick overnight kind of thing. Does that even really exist - for anything? Sigh. Oh, how I truly wish it did. Is it easier and quicker to get better from OCD with the right, properly qualified professional at your side? You bet! And I will always encourage any sufferer to get proper professional help, because I do believe it is really the best way to go. But for most sufferers, I think it is possible to make at least some bit of progress on our own. And even small progress can make an impact on our daily functioning and contentment in life.

It's NOT fair that we have OCD. It's not. I hate it. With every fiber of my being. I hate the pain it causes me and I hate the pain it causes those who love me. I hate the pain that it causes you. But hating it and realizing that it's not fair will not do one. single. thing. to improve our condition. I encourage you to go through the "this isn't fair, why is this happening to me, and I'm in agony" phase. I truly do. I think it's necessary. Hey, I still go back there for a visit every now and then. Just don't live there. Please. It will only make things worse for you in the long run.

If you decide that for whatever reason you cannot get the help of a professional, and you choose to go it on your own, I will be your biggest cheerleader. No, I'm definitely not even a partial substitute for a real, live, properly trained therapist. But I'm always glad to offer virtual hugs, encouragement, and the understanding of someone who has been (and continues to be) there.

I mean, what do you have to lose by trying? Besides the mind-numbing pain of OCD, that is? Hugs to you, my friends.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A New Must Read

Since I started my own blog almost 3 years ago, I've been following another blogger, Janet Singer, of ocdtalk. It is one of my absolutely all time favorite blogs, for a few reasons. First, Janet doesn't even have OCD herself. She is an advocate on behalf of her son (who went through a terrible struggle with OCD, but post-treatment, is now doing well) and other OCD sufferers. Second, her blog is always chock-full of legitimately good, scientifically backed, helpful information. Third, she poses thoughtful questions about the subject matter when answers do not seem obvious and forthcoming. I met Janet in person at the International OCD Foundation's Annual Conference a few years back, and she is just as lovely in real life as I expected her to be based upon her writing. Therefore, when Janet announced that she was writing a book with Clinical Psychologist Seth J. Gillihan, Ph.D., I just knew it was going to be a must read for me. I suspect it will be a must read for anyone else looking to find helpful resources and inspiration when it comes to battling this terrifying mental illness.

So it is with great pleasure that I can say that it is now possible to place a pre-order on her book! The best part? Use code 4S15OCDBK to save 30%! I am placing my order today, and will anxiously anticipate its publication in January.

If you would like to help share this resource with your community, you can call your local librarian and request that he/she order the book. Many local libraries will gladly order requested books. I plan to do this myself.

Congratulations, Janet! I'm so proud of you, friend.

Update: You can also pre-order the book at Amazon. The discount code I previously mentioned will not work at Amazon, however.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pain Today, Healing Tomorrow

I just finished watching a video of the speech given by Ethan S. Smith, the Keynote Speaker of the International OCD Foundation's 2014 Annual Conference. It is 46 1/2 minutes long. And worth every single minute. Ethan shared the story of how he went literally from the depths of hell to living a productive, meaningful life. It is simply brilliant.
Ethan S. Smith
Photo courtesy of IOCDF

In some ways, the video is not easy to watch. Ethan's therapists were tough on him because they needed to be. But it's also great to watch, as he is funny and vulnerable, and really, quite wise. His major OCD theme is hypochondriasis.

I viewed the video because I thought it might be a good resource to share with others. What I did not realize was how much I personally needed to hear his words, especially in light of my own recent trials. If you are struggling terribly with OCD, or you love someone who is, this is absolutely worth 46 1/2 minutes of your life. (Also, check out his blog post that is underneath the video. Definitely worth a read.)

"The amount of pain that you invest today is worth the pleasure for the rest of your life." Ethan S. Smith

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Relapse-ish?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who commented on my previous post and offered your support and prayers. You all hold such a special place in my heart that I could never fully express it.

I thought I would give you a quick update. I went to see my psychologist on Tuesday, and she surprisingly told me that I was not having a relapse. She considers it to be a relapse if a patient goes back to square one. I'm happy to report that I am nowhere near that.

She helped me think through my circumstances and helped me to see that yes, though I am struggling right now, and I FEEL horrible, I am not regressing all the way to the beginning. The truth is that I don't think I could, even if I tried, as I know way too much about fighting anxiety now. I can't unlearn it. Thankfully! My doctor also helped me to remember that I am experiencing transition in my life and transitions take time and they cannot be rushed, no matter how much we try.

So there you go. I was letting my emotions confuse the issue. Again. Well, that's a big surprise, isn't it? Ah, no. Not really. I'm so grateful that she helped me to clear up some cognitive distortions and to reframe the situation. In addition, the session was a good reminder to attempt mindfulness in all areas of my life.

My circumstances have improved over this last week, and I feel like I'm turning a corner. I believe this is in large part due to your prayers, to the prayers of my family, and my "in-person" friends. Thank you so much my dear, sweet friends.

I'm choosing to view this as another opportunity for God to grow me, humble me, and refine me. Sometimes though, I really wish I was not such a slow learner, ha!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Relapse

I have been gone from the blog for weeks and it is due to some difficult circumstances in my life at the moment. I will be fine. But the OCD is really flaring right now because of the stress and I am overwhelmed and exhausted. Lots of tears have been (and continue to be) shed. My husband is pretty exhausted too, and of course, this causes me to obsess over the state of his health, which just adds to the entire mess. But don't worry. I really will be ok. Eventually. And I will fill you in on the details at some point in the near future. Honestly, I'm just so sick of the entire situation that I can't talk about it right now. And I know my situation would probably be not that big of a deal for most people. It is for me, because it pushes all of my OCD triggers.

I know that many OCD sufferers get particularly discouraged about relapses. Mostly, I'm ok with it, because I know in my heart it is temporary. I also know that it is probably a normal part of life for most of us who struggle(d) with severe anxiety disorders. I don't think it is realistic to never expect a relapse of some sort.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I have most definitely not forgotten about you all. I just need a little equilibrium to return to my life before I can return to any kind of semi-normal posting schedule. If you are the praying type, I sure wouldn't refuse a few extra prayers! Be well my friends.